An ideal candidate in fire protection technology will be physically fit, able to manage stress and work well under pressure, able to make critical decisions, and will possess excellent communication skills. An interest or previous experience in emergency medical services is helpful but not required.
What will I do on the job?
Firefighters have assumed a range of responsibilities, including responding to several emergency situations as well as providing emergency medical services. This may include advanced life support measures in the prehospital setting, assisting in the recovery from natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods and the control of chemical spills, illegal drug labs and other hazardous material incidents. Between alarms, firefighters clean and maintain equipment, conduct practice drills, fire inspections and other related duties. They also prepare written incident reports, which will become legal documents and can be evidence in court. Training is continuous throughout a firefighter’s career.
What skills will I use on the job?
Firefighters need a high degree of mechanical aptitude and manipulative skill. Physical strength, stamina and flexibility are necessary to carry equipment like fire hoses, ladders, tools and equipment that can weigh 50 pounds while wearing 60 pounds of protective gear. Communication and problem solving skills are essential to comprehending emergency instructions as well as assimilating large amounts of information. It is imperative that firefighters have strong interpersonal skills with the desire to help others and display appropriate empathy, diplomacy and discretion in the face of troublesome situations.
Who will hire me?
Candidates are expected to face keen competition for available job openings, but those who have an AAS degree in fire protection technology from PCC will have an extra advantage over others by possessing the basic skills required for entry level hiring. Most job growth will occur in departments that convert from volunteer position to paid. In addition, openings are expected to result from the need to replace firefighters who retire or stop working for other reasons.
How much can I earn?
Approximate top annual salaries in the Portland area:
- Firefighter: $48,000
- Fire Lieutenant: $55,000
- Fire Captain: $63,000
- Battalion Chief: $73,000
- Division Chief: $84,000
- Deputy Chief: $96,000
- Chief: $111,000